Expungement Can Clear Your Criminal Record

Expungement Can Clear Your Criminal Record

What is an expungement? Why do I need an expungement? If I need one, how do I obtain an expungement? These are all excellent questions, especially for the novice violator who has never really had any exposure to the criminal system. Also, these are equally important questions to frequent fliers in the criminal system.

An expungement, simply put, refers to the erasure of a criminal charge or charges from a person’s criminal record. Expungements are authorized by KRS Chapter 431 et seq., and are divided into two types. The first type of expungement deals with criminal charges that have been resolved by dismissal or acquittal at trial. These can include felonies that were dismissed with prejudice or of which the defendant was acquitted at trial. They can also include any and all misdemeanors and violations which were dismissed or of which the defendant was acquitted at trial. In these situations, the statute provides that the defendant may seek expungment of said charge or charges sixty (60) days after the date on which the charges were dismissed or from which he was acquitted. There is no filing fee for this type of expungement, save the forty ($40) dollar Kentucky State Police (KSP) and Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) fee that is required by some, but not all courts. Each particular judge’s interpretation of this requirement will dictate on a court by court basis whether the fee must be paid and accompany the expungement.

The second type of expungement deals with a criminal charge or charges to which the defendant pled guilty or was found guilty at trial. In this case, the defendant is eligible in most cases to expunge his guilty plea five (5) years from the date of the conviction or the expiration of his probation, whichever period is longer. However, unlike a dismissed/acquittal expungement, this guilty plea expungement requires a One Hundred ($100) Dollar filing fee for each case as well as several other conditions. First, the defendant should not have a conviction for anything five (5) years prior to the charge sought to be expunged. Second, the defendant should not have a conviction for anything since the charge sought to be expunged was resolved. Third, the crime sought to be expunged must not be a sex crime nor an offense committed against a child. If any of the foregoing conditions exist, the defendant will most likely be statutorily disqualified from the Court granting the expungement.

Why does one need an expungement? In this ever-increasing technological world in which we live, no secret is safe from Big Brother. Big Brother is always watching and unfortunately, dismissed, acquitted, and conviction charges, although unwanted, frequently show up on a background check, criminal history check, credit search, or in a job interview. Any criminal charges, despite how minor, can and often do have a materially adverse effect on a person qualifying for a job, obtaining credit, or obtaining clearances or authorizations. Because of the technological advances, it is imperative that a person protect and maintain their record (or lack of record) and expungement is a magnificent tool by which to accomplish those ends.

One you’ve decided to look into expunging all or part of your record, how do you go about it? Excellent question. While some people seek to do their own and a few are successful, pro se expungements are fraught with peril and the risk that the movant may not circulate the petition and order for expungement to all the proper places, thereby leaving a trail out in Never Never Land for someone to find. Serious expungement applicants should find a knowledgeable, competent and experienced lawyer to handle the expungement for them. While the process sounds simple, the slightest error or faux pas can result in the expungement not being properly completed or, in some cases, completed at all. The experienced expungement lawyer knows all the traps and pitfalls and can guide you around them so that your goal is accomplished and you end up with favorable and positive results.

There are several experienced, competent and successful expungement attorneys who regularly handle these cases in Louisville, and Jefferson County, Kentucky. If you get your record expunged, you want it done right and you want it handled competently. Otherwise, you’re just throwing good money after bad. For more information regarding expungements, and there is much more information, contact your personal lawyer for questions or consult an experienced expungement lawyer to help you. Any way it shakes out, you won’t regret the decision to expunge your record.